Poland Wrap-up Part II: Transportation and Accomodations

Still thinking about planning a trip to Poland? My last post gave some itinerary help. Today is about some other logistics to account for as you start putting the wheels in motion. The other two big things to figure out when putting a trip together is transportation and accommodations. Here’s what we did, and learned along the way.

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Poland Wrap-up Part I: Make Your Own Poland Itinerary

Poland was an amazing country to visit, and truly one of my favorite trips I’ve taken during my three years living in Europe. But you know what the funny thing is? The trip almost didn’t happen. I have always wanted to visit Poland because when I look at my varied European ancestry, I’m more Polish than anything else. I’ve always wanted to step foot in Poland and connect to my roots on some level. But each year, for some reason the trip seemed daunting to plan, so we kept putting it off. Until Michael just put his foot down and booked round trip airfare to Krakow, knowing that this commitment would motivate us to pull it together.

If you’re interested in going to Poland but are in the same boat, I want to encourage you to put your reservations aside and plan a trip! The hardest part for me was putting together an itinerary that captured the highlights of this large country. Here are some ideas to help give you a head start.

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The Old Jewish Cemetery of Wroclaw, Poland

It may sound odd to some, but we’ve visited a fair share of cemeteries on our travels. It’s not morbid or creepy in my opinion - I am just interested in observing how cemeteries vary in different places. And walking around, looking at sculptures and art on tombstones, is like walking through an outdoor museum of sorts. At least that’s how I see it.

When I found out there was the Old Jewish Cemetery in Wroclaw, I definitely wanted to go. Not only did it involve a cemetery, but it combined another area that interests me - Jewish history. So off we set to the south section of Wroclaw, away from the city center to see the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in town. By its name, you might think it is hundreds of years old. In reality, it’s not that old - it was created in the mid-19th century. 

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Gnome Hunt! Wroclaw, Poland

What do you do when you find out the city you’re visiting has over 300 little gnome statues scattered throughout town? You set out to find as many as you can, right? Or, you take it one step further and decide to have an all-out competition with your travel partner(s) to spot the most gnomes first.

The later is clearly what transpired between me and my hubby in Wroclaw. The rules were super basic. All you had to do was spot a gnome and claim the point as yours by shouting out, “Gnome!!” first. There were really no other limitations though - these little guys could be found anywhere, like in the post office or outside a church. You might be casually walking and all of a sudden your hubby breaks out into a run. Or be talking about what to do next and mid-senten---.”Gnome!”

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The Search in Wroclaw, Poland

Bon lundi!

Hide-and-go-seek.
Word searches.
I spy.
Where’s Waldo.

Didn’t you love games growing up that involved finding things? There’s just something about the thrill and excitement that comes from discovering something that is hidden. Add in a little competition, and there’s a great game in the making.

Let’s be honest though - these games aren’t just for kids! Take two kids at heart, give an object to find, make it into a friendly competition, and voila! You have hours worth of free entertainment.

Wonder what I’m talking about? Let’s just say that my sightseeing method of seeing Wroclaw was pretty awesome, and involved a massive city-wide gnome hunt. More to come on this unique city and its hidden little inhabitants! 

One of the many hidden gnomes of Wroclaw, Poland

Relaxing in Wroclaw

It’s a classic example of what came first: the chicken or the egg? Wroclaw was the last stop on our trip through Poland before we made our way back to Krakow to get our flight home to Paris. I’m not sure if our time in Wroclaw was so laid back because of general travel fatigue at that point, or if it was just a perfect city to take things a bit slower. Maybe at that point in my travel research I got a little more lax after tackling an in-depth document of things to do and eat in all of the preceding cities (I’m not as intense a traveler as I used to be, but still am a bit type-A when it comes to planning!). Most likely, the truth probably lies somewhere in between. All I do know was our almost three days in Wroclaw were characterized by lots of relaxing and chilling out, sprinkled with tons of laughter.

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Underrated Wrocław, Poland?

Bon lundi!

We’re entering the final stretch of my trip in Poland! After spending a few days in Gdańsk by the Baltic Sea, it was time to make our way towards Krakow again. The most economical way for us to travel to Poland was to book round-trip airfare in and out of Krakow, so the last leg of the journey was a stop as we made our way southward towards the airport. 

One thing I came to appreciate while planning this trip was just how large Poland is! If we were to drive straight from Gdańsk to Krakow, it would be just under six hours. We decided to take a short flight out of Gdańsk to cover the distance more quickly. The question was - where to? I narrowed it down to two cities I had heard were worth visiting: Poznań and Wrocław.

Clearly from the title of this post, we ended up choosing Wroclaw. Was this a good choice? I think so (though if you’ve been to Poznań, let me know what you think!). All of the previous destinations were on the main tourist loop, documented in my Rick Steves’ guidebook and vetted by Polish friends. Wroclaw wasn’t a city I heard much about, so we went in a little unsure of what exactly we would find. 

What we found exactly will have to wait until my next post...but what I will say is we loved it! And I’m going to talk about it a bit because this is an underrated city in my opinion!

What underrated cities/places have you enjoyed (perhaps to your surprise)?

Canvas-Worthy Europe, 2014 edition

Last Wednesday I shared my round-up of my favorite photos taken in Paris in 2014. Now it’s time to see the year in review through a collection of my canvas-worthy contenders from our European travels outside of Paris. Here’s where I traveled to during the year!

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The 10 Most Memorable Experiences in Poland

I just got back from a two-week trip traveling throughout Poland. Yup, you read that correctly. Poland. I've gotten many quizzical looks, and even questioning natives asking why I chose Poland for a long vacation. The short answer is I have always wanted to go due to my largely Polish ancestry. That, coupled with my mounting desire to explore more of Eastern Europe after I fell in love with Prague (my only prior experience in the general area), led Michael and I to book a 16-night adventure in this country. These ten moments/places/things left an impact on me and convinced me that Poland is such an underrated destination for tourists. So when are you planning to visit Poland?!

Here are the top ten things (in no particular order) that stood out to me on my trip:

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